Introduction to Serbian cases

Serbian language has such complicated grammatical stuff as cases. All nouns, pronouns, adjectives are declined by cases. In this lesson we will consider each case, and will apply it in practice in next lessons with Serbian nouns, adjectives and pronouns. In this lesson we will consider all Serbian cases, and in the next three lessons we will learn how to decline pronouns, nouns, adjectives by them.

Keep this page open when you learn next lessons about cases of Serbian pronouns, cases of Serbian nouns, cases of Serbian adjectives, Possessive pronouns.

Let’s figure out when and where each case is used. Below you can see the description of each Serbian case.

Each case (apart from nominative) has a batch of prepositions to be use with, and they can be used without prepositions.

  1. Nominative case

This is initial form of word. Answers the questions Ko? – who? , Šta? – what?

There is nothing more to say about this case. As you see a word (noun/ adjective/ pronoun) in a dictionary, you see it in nominative case.

  1. Genitive case

Answers the questions Koga? – whom? Čega? – what? Used for describing possession, quantity, part of something. The most often used case.

Hint phrase: “I don’t have … (whom?/what?)”, “There are a lot of … (what?)”

Used with prepositions:

Bez – without
Blizu – near
Van – outside
Do – to, next to , till
Duž – along
Za –for , at
Za vreme – during
Zbog – because of
Iz – fromIza – behind

Izvan – outside of, beyond

Oko – around, about *for time
Osim – apart from, except
Poput, kao – like
Posle – after
Širom – around

Između – between
Iznad – above
Ispod – under, below
Ispred – in front of, before
Kod – at, in, next to,by
Umesto – instead of
uprkos – in spite of
Nakon, posle – after
Od – from, of
kroz – through
Protiv – against
za – for
S (Sa) – with
Pre – before
unutar, unutra – inside
  1. Dative case

Indicates giving or direction to an object. Answers the questions Kome? Čemu?

Hint phrases: Give … to who? To what? Go … to who? To what? Where to?

Used with prepositions:

K (ka) – towards, to
Nasuprot – contrary to, opposite to, against

  1. Accusative case

Used for indicating an object of an action. Answers the questions Koga?(animated) Šta?(inanimated) – there is difference between animated and inanimated object in declension in this case.

Hint phrases: I can see … what? whom? I do … what? I love … whom?/what?

Used with prepositions:

Za –  for (what? whom?), to (where?), about, in (how much time?)
Kroz – through
Među – among
uprkos – in spite of
Na – on
iznad, nad – above
niz – down
pod – under
pred – in front of
u – to

  1. Instrumental case

Used for indicating an instrument of an action. Answers the questions Kim? Čime?

I do it … (by what?), I walk with … (with whom?)

Used with prepositions:

S (Sa) – with
Među – among
između – between
iznad, nad – above
pod – under
pred – in front of

  1. Locative case

This case is always used with prepositions. In most of cases used to indicate a place, however it is better to memorize the prepositions with which this case is used.

Answers the questions O kim? O čemu? Gde? Kada?

Hint phrases: “This is on …(on what?)”, “this story is about …. (about what?)”.

na – on
o – about
po – throughout
prema – towards, to
u– in, at

  1. Vocative case

Used for calling somebody or something or identification of an object of speech. I.e., used for calling or addressed someone or something.

Doesn’t have special question words and prepositions.

Hint phrases: “Friend, help me please”, where “friend” will be in vocative case, because one addresses him in this sentence. “John, can you do it please?”, where the name John, i.e any name in Serbian language will be in vocative case when one calls a person by name.

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